We continue our series titled Somos del Señor following the Revised Common Lectionary and sourced from Discipleship Ministries of The United Methodist Church. Sermons in this series can be found at this link.
This week’s text affirms what we noted last week. The church in Corinth is in conflict. Paul notes this overtly and authentically, perhaps concerned that the divisions are doing harm to the faith community. I find this particularly relevant today as we face potential schism in our own denomination. Paul reminds the church in Corinth that we belong to Christ, and perhaps in this connected belonging we can find hope and purpose.
1 Corinthians 1:10-18 (CEB)
Rival groups in Corinth
10Now I encourage you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ: Agree with each other and don’t be divided into rival groups. Instead, be restored with the same mind and the same purpose. 11My brothers and sisters, Chloe’s people gave me some information about you, that you’re fighting with each other. 12What I mean is this: that each one of you says, “I belong to Paul,” “I belong to Apollos,” “I belong to Cephas,” “I belong to Christ.” 13Has Christ been divided? Was Paul crucified for you, or were you baptized in Paul’s name? 14Thank God that I didn’t baptize any of you, except Crispus and Gaius, 15so that nobody can say that you were baptized in my name! 16Oh, I baptized the house of Stephanas too. Otherwise, I don’t know if I baptized anyone else. 17Christ didn’t send me to baptize but to preach the good news. And Christ didn’t send me to preach the good news with clever words so that Christ’s cross won’t be emptied of its meaning.
Human wisdom versus the cross
18The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are being destroyed. But it is the power of God for those of us who are being saved.
Consider these questions:
- Do you think it is human nature to be drawn into certain allegiances, much as the Corinthians did? Why might this be?
- What might it look like to experience a church where there are “no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same purpose”? What might that feel like?
Post-Worship Update on 1/28
Audio from the sermon can be heard below, and video can be found at this link (will open in a new tab).
Sunday’s message began with a reality-check on division in our culture and in The United Methodist Church, acknowledging the difficulty with trying to transcend these divisions—particularly those that are personal and painful.
I took comfort in words written by John Wesley in a sermon called The Catholic Spirit, and shared a modern re-wording of Wesley’s sermon in the hopes that the ideas that brought me comfort might be helpful for others. The link for the manuscript is below along with a newspaper article also quoted in the message:
- Can this church be saved? – an article from the San Diego Union-Tribune by Peter Rowe, dated 1/12/20
- Do you believe? – a contemporary interpretation of John Wesley’s “Catholic Spirit”
Consider these questions:
- Where do you find glimmers of hope in the midst of our cultural and spiritual divisions?
- How do you discern when two hearts are the same? How can you tell if two people (or sides) who disagree are still of one heart?
- What does it mean to reach out in an invitation to relationship? When we enter into a relationship with those with whom we disagree, what changes? Do we change?